Social Media; such a blessing, and an utter curse all at once.
The good news is that (for the most part,) the massive wave of casting social media “influencers” has passed. No longer will you be beat out for a role by someone significantly less right or talented than you because they have two million YouTube subscribers. The bad news is that we’ve all begun to rely on social media as our way of communicating, and thus, it has become increasingly easy to alienate possible collaborators.
As actors, you’ve been told repeatedly that you MUST have a social media presence. The more followers, likes, views, retweets, etc., the better. It is an exhausting time suck, and yet completely exhilarating when a post goes viral or a favorite celebrity follows you back.
A lot of actors will choose to stay in touch with Casting, their peers, directors, producers, etc. via social media. That is TOTALLY FINE. If that is your bag, go for it. HOWEVER, you MUST MUST MUST be aware that if you post about [INSERT HERE: your political opinions, your hatred of the latest STAR WARS, your beef with a certain CD who apparently didn’t watch your self-tape] you could very well have reached (and pissed off) someone who may have been a future employer.
This is not to say that you have to stifle every urge to share an opinion. On the contrary, if you’re passionate about something, use your platform to express yourself. Just be aware that it could turn some people away. For example, I try very hard to keep my FB/Twitter straight business, but I’ve been SO unbelievably moved by the Parkland kids that I cannot help but post and retweet about gun reform. I’ve lost followers, but I don’t care. This is an issue and a group that I care deeply about, and if it means that there are people who don’t want to work with me because of this, then so be it.
The social media conundrum is that we all CRAVE more connections, but the more eyes we have on our posts, the higher the probability of pushing some of those people away with any sort of charged remark. As an example, I follow someone on Twitter who I’ve long worked with in the entertainment industry. This person posts CONSTANTLY about politics. I happen to share their beliefs, but the incessant barrage of posts and retweets, at all hours of the day, have me wondering how they have time to actually do their job. I’ve always liked this person, but frankly, it’s turned me off a little. While I used to recommend this person heartily, I now don’t mention their name when people ask for that kind of referral.
Similarly, I have seen actors bash movies and tv shows they don’t like, some of which I have worked on. I try very hard to neither take it to heart nor hold it against them. While everyone is entitled to their opinions, you have to know that if you have a certain social media reach, chances are good that SOMEONE who worked on that project is seeing you talk smack about their work and is hurt or bothered by your post.
This is the fine line: having an AUTHENTIC social media presence while being fully aware of your audience. Some actors will have a professional social media page and a personal one (under a different version of their name.) Some will choose to have Twitter be for business, Facebook be for personal use. Some (bless these people,) are off social media entirely.
Whatever you choose to do, be MINDFUL of what you are posting: if you want to go off about a Casting Director who you think wronged you, maybe do that over a cup of coffee with a peer, as opposed to blasting it out over Facebook, (even if you’re not “friends” with that CD, one of your “friends” may be and will share it with them.) If you think equal pay is a silly concept, then explain (the hell out of) your rationale in a coherent, logical series of posts instead of a bunch of angry and divisive retweets.
Not every studio, producer or CD will care about what you post on social media. But some will. And as we’ve all seen, it’s very easy to dredge up old posts. So before you hit TWEET/SEND/POST on anything that can be deemed controversial or highly opinionated, think about this: would you say these things to someone’s face? If you’re not brave enough to speak the words you type in a real-life setting, then think twice about posting it online.